Dubai’s Emirates warns US-EU jet-tariff war will drive up travel costs

A tit-for-tat imposition of import duties on Boeing and Airbus planes would ultimately increase the cost of planes and ticket prices

Sir Tim Clark Emirates Airlines

A face-off between the US and European Union over jetliner tariffs will make travel costlier for passengers, the world’s biggest long-haul airline has warned.

A tit-for-tat imposition of import duties on Boeing and Airbus planes would ultimately increase the cost of planes and hence ticket prices, Emirates president Tim Clark said Monday in Dubai, where the carrier is based.

“In the end, the prices of what we get charged as a result of tariff imposition will be passed through as they have to, to consumers, so prices are likely to rise,” Clark said in a speech at the 2019 Aviation Show.

The US has said it will introduce a 10 per cent levy on European jetliners following a World Trade Organization ruling that Airbus benefited from illegal state aid. The WTO is considering a similar case against Boeing that’s due to be decided next year and the EU says it will introduce tariffs of its own if the US acts now.

Clark said Emirates earnings have “considerably improved” from a year ago, though the collapse of Thomas Cook Group has weighed on the Dnata ground-handling division, which counted the UK tour operator as a client.

Emirates has curbed capacity and rationalised routes in response to a slowing economy, which has seen “a flattening in our growth,” the executive said.